“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” - Denis Waitley
The market is changing at a rapid pace and businesses are demanding innovation to meet customer requirements. The need of the hour is to transform and grow while keeping the organization afloat.
Sustainability during an unplanned disaster is one area where the organizations need to focus. The disaster can be a natural calamity, a cyber-attack, or even a pandemic like COVID-19. Many organizations today are adopting a reactive approach with, say, work from home, to tackle disaster and manage crisis rather than a proactive approach. They often tend to act only when the disaster has damaged their businesses. These disasters can, not only lead to the loss of data and revenue but can also be detrimental to an organization’s reputation.
Technology often comes to the rescue of many organizations in managing a disaster. Therefore, a robust disaster recovery and business continuity plan has to be in place to focus on each critical layer of any business and ascertain a correct business impact analysis. Many organizations are unable to draw a proper strategy when it comes to disaster recovery and business continuity planning around various business functions involving the implementation of remote access infrastructures, digital platforms, or critical business applications for work from home. According to a recent survey conducted by a leading research organization, “After the recent COVID-19 outbreak, only 12% of the organizations are highly prepared.” A proper work-from-home and business continuity planning strategy is necessary for accurate business impact analysis, involving planning around the technology. It ensures that all aspects of businesses are rigorously evaluated and protected.
Planning for the ‘Plan B’
In the wake of COVID-19, market leaders are under tremendous pressure to ensure the smooth running of their business in such tough times. Many organizations are on the verge of breaking down just because they did not have a proper business continuity plan in place.
Often, organizations focus only on the technological and compliance aspects but when it comes to business continuity planning, there has to be a holistic approach that should involve step-based planning to cover all the critical assets including people, facilities, business applications, procedures, compliances, and IT systems. As part of business continuity management, there should be an amalgamation of the right technology stack, Agile organization culture, a proper disaster recovery strategy, and planning for each business component including processes, compliances, and critical functions. Combined, these factors can create a perfect business continuity plan.
In the most effective business continuity management plan, it is imperative to have a proper collaboration between each business layer during the planning phase. There should be a clear understanding of the scope, the key business areas, dependency mappings of various business units, and acceptable downtime for critical functions while creating a business continuity plan. A sustainable step-based approach should involve risk assessment, business impact analysis (BIA), business continuity, strategic plan development, and finally conducting a preparedness drill. A proper strategy will not only boost the confidence of any organization in terms of preparedness but also give it the right direction of how it should act when any disaster strikes.
Technology as the Real Salvager
Digital technology lies at the core of any business today. Cloud, AI, and ML are not just the buzzwords but have proven to be the biggest disrupters of any business in this era of digitization. When it comes to business continuity management, core technology plays a very crucial role; organizations are relying on these technologies to sail through these troublesome times. It acts as a catalyst to accelerate the MTTR (Mean Time to Restore) for any business and thus helps organizations achieve the required SLAs. Many organizations are undergoing digital transformation to enable the right technologies. This is not only helping to gain competitive advantages but is also helping them to close the gaps in their overall business continuity strategy.
During the recent COVID-19 outbreak, organizations have realized the pivotal role that technology plays in our day-to-day lives. When it comes to digital technology, cloud has proven to be a game-changer in this space. Organizations are leveraging cloud platforms to re-invent the ways they have been doing disaster management and business continuity management.
According to one of the surveys conducted by a renowned market research firm, “90% of the respondents believe that the cloud will play a role in their organization's disaster recovery or data protection plans.” Public cloud has recently gained a lot of traction with the enterprises for drafting a DR strategy which gives customers the flexibility to consume and pay only at the time of a real disaster. Many banking and financial organizations are also leveraging private cloud solutions with extreme automation to restore their services at the click of a button in case of a disaster. Cloud has given the flexibility to create a hot or a cold DR and can reap the benefits in terms of cost.
During the current Coronavirus outbreak, the cloud has really helped the businesses run smoothly without any human intervention. Other technologies that have seen a recent surge in the market are containers and PaaS. Organizations are adopting PaaS and container platforms to meet their stringent RPOs and RTOs. Container being lightweight and highly portable in nature makes it easy to be restored on any target platform without any extra efforts while PaaS is giving them the freedom to move away from managing the underlying complex infrastructure.
Driving Innovation through Intelligent Automation
While technology is one pillar that accelerates the business continuity process, automation is another pillar that is instrumental in helping organizations meet their business continuity objectives. Maintaining workforce strength is one of the crucial factors for any organization during disasters as it gets really challenging to maintain the required workforce in order to restore critical services and run the business operations during unforeseen situations.
Automation adds the required intelligence which is needed to reduce human intervention and make decisions that are required to run the business. Automation also reduces the management overhead and mitigates the risk of human error pertaining to the environment. Organizations are using automation and cognitive capabilities to bring in the required agility which helps in building a strong digital framework to tackle the complex business continuity ecosystem.
As the world is witnessing a global economic downturn due to COVID-19, many businesses have realized the importance of business continuity planning. Organizations are confronted with the fierce urgency of running their businesses with the bare minimum support that they have in terms of technology, resources, or business functions. They have realized the huge dependency they have on the digital technology in terms of implementing measures such as work from home, maintaining remote infrastructure management, running critical business applications, and meeting agile organization culture.
The disruption caused by COVID-19 has not only weakened the core of businesses financially, but there is also a huge emotional impact on the sentiments of the spooked market. But, as it is said that in the middle of difficulty lies an opportunity, there have been some contemporary trends that have emerged in the market during these challenging times. There stands an opportunity with system integrators like HCL, to assist their customer in fighting this prolonged battle against COVID-19 monster with the help of their technological weapons and expertise.
HCL, with its consulting framework, can help organizations in the assessment, audit, planning, and implementation of the business continuity and disaster recovery. HCL can leverage the core expertise of its dedicated center of excellence and its technology partners around the cloud and disaster recovery management and help its customers implement a proper business continuity strategy in all the verticals of the businesses. HCL also has a robust business continuity services ecosystem and spectrum of services to help customers sail through this unprecedented situation.
COVID-19 has made us realize that the businesses stand at the mercy of disasters today and digital transformation plays a pivotal role to keep the lights on during these disasters. Market leaders and visionaries have always known the importance that digital transformation plays in helping organizations sail through the storm.
Satya Nadella, the Chief Executive Officer at Microsoft has rightly said, “Longevity in any business is about being able to reinvent yourself or invent the future”. Looking at the current situation, it is quite evident that in the future there will be more focus on digital technology in terms of automation, cloud, AI/ML, and such others. Going forth, organizations will have a separate budget and a proper strategy for business continuity planning and preparedness so that the tiff between the disaster and business can be easily sorted out in the future.